Good Health & Interior Design
Good design goes hand in hand with a healthy home. Many people are sensitive to interior products and suffer from allergies and illnesses that may be preventable. Children, expectant mothers and seniors are likely to be affected more significantly. Here are 10 tips to create a safer indoor environment.
1. Use natural cleaners. I make my own by mixing baking soda and vinegar.
2. Don’t wear outdoor shoes in the house. They can drag in allergens, soil and other particles. Change into household slippers or skid-free socks and leave petrochemicals at the door. Can’t do that? Be sure to wipe your street shoes thoroughly on a door mat.
3. Use indoor plants as natural air purifiers. Spider plants, ferns and even African violets help absorb chemical pollutants that synthetic materials release into the air.
4. Be sure your paint is safe. Some homes built before 1978 have lead-based paint. Check with easily available test kits. When repainting, use low odor, no-VOC paints.
5. Keep the dust down. Fabrics, carpets and fibers trap pollen, dust, mites and mold. Vacuum often and use a HEPA filter. Select wood flooring in lieu of carpets. Prevent mold growth with proper ventilation; use dehumidifiers in damp spaces.
6. Burn soy candles rather than petroleum-based candles that off-gas.
7. Use glass for food storage and microwaving food. At the very least, be sure your plastics are BPA-free and microwave safe.
8. Wash new clothes before wearing to eliminate chemicals used to treat the fabrics, and give clothes an extra rinse in the washer cycle to wash out any detergent residue. Buy natural-fiber alternatives in clothing, blankets, towels and bedding.
9. Use personal-care products without sulfates, perfumes and propylene glycol.
10. Air out new furniture and fabrics before bringing them into your home. Most contain formaldehyde that off-gasses at high levels for a few days. Better yet, buy green furniture.
Lynn Morris, ASID, Principal Interior Designer
Touch of Tradition Home & Garden